Lisburn lads Pretty Cartel, who just recently supported Embrace, played at Man City’s Eithad Stadium and took to the studio, have had a busy 2014.
Their sound has been likened to the early 60s, along with the familiar britpop sound. Their debut single “The Busker” became the soundtrack to the “Backin Belfast” campaign in 2013 which led to mainstream radio in Northern Ireland giving the single air play and raising the bands profile.
Tales of the Working Class is the title of the bands debut EP. Gigging NI’s Brian Alcorn spoke with guitarist and backin’ vocals band member Ian Currie.
How was 2014 for the band, was it a busy year?
“2014 was one of our most successful years as far as playing bigger gigs/venues and opening us up to some new audiences. We were kept pretty busy from the word go! 2014 also saw us begin recording our debut album “Subbuteo Balls & Rockstars” with Neal Calderwood at Manor Park Studios.”
What was your highlight of the year as a band?
“The highlight of the year was getting to play at The Etihad Stadium, Man City’s Fan Park in October. This went out live on MCTV online and beamed into the stadium as well. We were really well treated at the ground and given box tickets to the match with all you can drink and Scully (Oasis connection) thrown in for good measure! Kept it on the quiet that me and our bass player Mackin support the other side of Manchester….just in case!! Great experience for all the boys, and gave us a taste of what life could be like, which gives us the drive to keep making music and chasing our dream!”
“Again my last answer comes into this question, Man City Fan Park, was something totally new to us all, experiencing what it was like to be on schedule for a live broadcast , everything had to be on the button regarding starting times, length of set etc. We also got to play Limelight 1 supporting Embrace in December, which was another experience that stands out.
“They have transformed the Limelight since the days of Spring and Airbrake. It has a huge stage and a really big gig feel to the venue! Probably sound wise the best we sounded and feel our tunes are suited to the bigger venue as well. Also worth noting we ventured up the North coast to the Atlantic Bar, Portrush, which again was a new venue for us, but it felt just like a hometown gig in many ways due to the support we have received up there. Some great memories all round this year for the band.”
Did the band release any new music?
“The band gave away a few tasters from our forthcoming album this year with videos. “It is Now” was put together with a video featuring Carl Frampton in the build up to his title match in Belfast. We also released a video for another album track “Days Gone Bye”, both of these tracks received great feedback and we cant wait to get the full album out there.”
“The band Practice twice a week at the very least but as all the boys have commitments with work and family, this is the difficult side of keeping a band flowing and moving on, the side people don’t see. Luckily we have myself, Dee (Lead singer) and Davy (Drummer) all writing material in some fashion and when brought to the full band the songs then come to life and everybody adds their own input to the tracks, so new ideas are always there floating about, its just hard to whittle them down to what sits best in our set at that point, or will sit well on record.”
What was the best gig you felt your band did during the year?
“The best gig I feel we done personally was in the Limelight supporting Embrace. You couldn’t ask for a better sound in that venue and as I said, I felt our tunes didn’t sound out of place in a venue of that size. We also played our hometown Lisburn in the Wallace Park which was attended by over 8000 people, which also sits up there as one of our best gigs of the year just for the sheer size of crowd to play in front off. But as tightness in the band and sound, The Limelight show would be my best gig of 2014.”
Any new EPs, Singles or Albums due out next year?
“We are looking to release our debut album “Subbuteo Balls & Rockstars” the tale end of February online and we are holding our Official Launch Party on the 20th March 2015 , featuring Late City Edition and DJ Jonny Red on the bill, set up to be a great night of Indie, Rock and Britpop.”
Have you any gigs lined up for 2015?
“We have a few gigs penciled in for 2015 already. Our own album launch as mention on March 20th ,The Mod Weekender in Bangor, which we have played twice before and went down a storm, Lambretta Promotions have looked after PC from the word go and keep putting us in big slots. We are also heading down to The Amplified Bar, Newry in May, which will be another first for us to play, as well as a few hometown gigs in there. Bookings are always coming in for the band so expect to see us on the circuit promoting our album and getting ourselves out there.”
“Local radio has been kind to us in the past, with our debut single “The Busker” being given a lot of airplay on Citybeat 96.7, but that came about due to people phoning in and requesting to hear the song when it featured on the “Backin’ Belfast” campaign. If it wasn’t for that I’m not sure we would of got that airplay on mainstream radio. Blast 106 Belfast are a Voluntary run radio station which features local music a lot, giving bands the opportunity to come in and play live and be interviewed, which is a great experience no matter what level you are at.
“But I do feel that mainstream stations should really be getting behind the local scene as there is a wealth of talent around the country at the minute just waiting for that break! There is quite a lot of online music media sites that are local as well and give great reviews on all the local gigs, but again, its on a small level, so hard to gauge just how much of an audience they are reaching out to, but they are doing their bit which is all you can ask!”
What other bands did your band see this year that you enjoyed?
“We played with The Travelling Band in Manchester, they really stood out to me as a tight knit band with great harmonies and songs. They have been on the scene on the mainland for a long time and when you see bands like that and they are still on the smaller scale in terms of gigs and stuff, it makes you realize just how much talent is out there trying to do the same thing we are. Locally, The Echo Raptors stand out to me as a band that are more than capable of going places, They have a great vibe around them and we love sharing the stage with those lads.”
As a band what album did you enjoy from 2014?
“As a band our taste in music is a bit stuck in the past! We all have the same influences which consist of Oasis, Weller, The Who, Small Faces, The View. Kasabian’s latest album caught our ear and a few boys went and watched them live in Belfast. We are all looking forward to Noel Gallagher’s new record in the new year, but again, we are in the bubble were the only album that has mattered to us this past year is our own.”
So 2015 will consist of?
“2015 for Pretty Cartel is to release our album and promote it anywhere and everywhere we can, then hopefully in late August we will head back into the studio and start working on new material, maybe step back from gigging at that point as well and come back in 2016 totally fresh and a new set list to get back on the circuit with.”